This article is published in the number 26/27 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until July 5, 2022\
Roberto and Fosca are father and daughter, 32 years of age separate them, a number of kilometers equal to the distance between Milan – where he lives – and Rabat – where she is, a generation and its relative conquests. To unite them instead, in addition to biology, there is a vision of the world, of life and of the family that they have built step by step, with silences and words. Roberto d’Incau, headhunter, executive coach and writer, is one of the many fathers who, at some point along the way, spoke to their children to tell who they really were, beyond roles and conventions. Fosca, who has been working in Morocco for some years, was the daughter she knew without knowing. She understood without asking.
These are their stories.
“First of all, I think my story has nothing extraordinary: each story is unique and special, this is only mine”.
What is the special side of this story?
“Which is the story of a person who listened to himself, who was lucky enough not to be frightened by the many things that each of us is. We are many wanting to be and having to be, and often having to be prevail over what we want and always make me very afraid ».
Among the many things she is, there is bisexuality.
“In my life I have loved two men and two women very much. The fact is that we all have a complex sexuality and affectivity: if I look around I see that there are many men and also women who have a homoerotic and homoaffective component. Living it in a hidden way seems to me a waste of energy, even for the original couple ».
There must be agreement on these things.
«I went to Parini high school in the seventies. I grew up with an open idea and with the awareness that there are themes that a couple can share: respect for who they really are and also the awareness that relationships have a cycle and that they are not eternal. Having said that I loved Fosca’s mother very much and even today, that we are friends, we tell each other that we have done a wonderful thing together. When she was born I heard what animal imprinting is. I remember her wrapped in a green sweater crying desperately in the nursery bed, the nurse couldn’t calm her down, I approached her and said: “Fosca I’m your dad”. She stopped and I thought: this is the great love that will be with me all my life ”».
How did you raise your daughter?
«With great openness and with a basic idea: that everyone must take on their responsibilities. Parenting means accompanying a child to what she or he is. I think it is important to give children a role model, to give them an idea that we are people on average, who try to feel good. For example, I find it a contradiction in terms to be in an unhappy marriage or without love “for the children”, because doing so means telling them that it is right to be in the wrong relationships. Instead, each of us has the duty to make his own small, large, revolutions ».
How?“In our country we are steeped in prejudices, and each of us can do something to change the situation. On the one hand we are holding a chisel, on the other the masses of marble of prejudices, of “we have always done this”, of having to be. It would be nice to be able to lift those stones and throw them, but we can’t. But with our chisels we can slowly break them. Each one as far as it belongs and can. The first step is to be honest with yourself ».
She was, and at one point she talked to Fosca.
“There are things we go through without the need to verbalize. But giving names to things is also important and I, as often happens, I thought that to make certain speeches you have to wait until children are the right age, that they are mature enough to understand. Now I’m not so sure that it makes sense to wait. There is only one criterion to respect: speak when you are ready. You and the person who has to listen ».
Was it burdensome to keep quiet?
“I have never concealed anything. Fosca’s mother and I had broken up when she was little, and for reasons that had nothing to do with what happened next. When I met Chicco, my partner, he began to come to my house as a friend, but there was no fiction, I have never been one for so many public events ».
But then one day he told him.
«When I spoke to Fosca, she was 12, she told me: but I knew you were with Chicco. And at school we all think you are a beautiful couple. If I think about it, I get excited. At that moment a circle has come full circle ».
What has changed?
«That a somewhat more equal relationship has begun, a little less adult-child. Everyone calmed down and I said to myself: “Well done, you have a really smart daughter” ».
It’s all very civil: you were lucky.
«I believe that luck has nothing to do with it: everything that has arrived, I have conquered. I was able to surround myself with the right people, including a psychotherapist. And then it is not certain that being in an environment without economic problems and of educated and informed people is necessarily a privilege: the strength of prejudices is everywhere, even where everyone smiles at you. We must not care: seeking the approval of everyone leads nowhere. “
Were you ever afraid that it couldn’t be that simple?
“I wondered if this choice of mine could have an impact on her: whatever we do we are terrified of hurting our children.”
And what was the reply?
“I replied by looking at her, observing her low level of foscaggine and her high level of cheerfulness. In her the proverb nomen omen works the other way around ».
It is said that children always understand everything, was it like that for you too?
“I had known Dad’s partner for some time, but he hadn’t been introduced to me as such. I felt some things – inconsistencies, things I didn’t understand – I felt that there were some questions I wanted to ask, but I also felt that my father was not ready and so I was silent ».
When did mutual silence break?
“He and my grandmother had a tense relationship and I didn’t understand why. He told me about his homosexuality about her after their discussion about another person, because I was taking my grandmother’s side. So he wanted to tell me why they were arguing, it was there that he completely opened up. “
What did he think?
“I didn’t know, but it’s as if I’ve always known, there was no surprise. His partner was already familiar to me, he was on excellent terms with my mother. Perhaps my father expected a more difficult reaction from me. “
How has your relationship changed since that day?
“It has improved because we have put the unspoken out of the way. But I never blamed my father for that silence: he spoke when he was ready. The more you grow up, the more you understand that parents aren’t perfect. “
And how did your friends react to this change?
“The hardest part was at school because there was a teacher who always said nasty things about homosexuals and I didn’t have the courage to answer anything. If somebody says “fagot” as an insult, and your dad is gay, you feel terrible. But my classmates were very good, they got angry in my place. Everything changed when I went to University in London, the environment there was very different, my first boyfriend had a history identical to mine but with his mother, who was a lesbian. There I became proud of my father and our diversity. And I started responding to people who were intolerant and offensive, I told myself that I shouldn’t be silent anymore ».
How is your family now?
“It makes me very proud, we all make video calls together and every year we all go on holidays in Greece: mum, dad, their companions”.
You have been away from Italy for many years, how do you see it in the area of rights?
“I haven’t lived there since 2013 and have seen remarkable progress over the years. I see things that are no longer accepted, like in language. Sometimes I too realize that I have biases, prejudices, and if I compare myself with younger people I realize that they are much freer than me. We have never reached enough on certain issues ».
Proud of us
Roberto d’Incau and Fosca yesterday and today. You have lived in Morocco for years.
Source: Vanity Fair